Disciples Divinity House

of the University of Chicago

The first endowment gift was given in 1901 by Mrs. Ellen M. Thomas of Kentucky "for the purpose of maintaining instruction." She donated $5,000 to the new institution. "The importance of this gift cannot easily be overestimated. It was like a footing of solid rock in a bed of sand.... It encouraged hesitant friends, and called out other gifts.... It will be difficult for the trustees of the House to forget her name, or the joy and hope which her quiet generosity gave to them in the day of weakness" (Annual Calendar, 1906).

Gifts to the endowment may be designated for general support, scholarships, or major capital projects. Such gifts undergird the educational mission of the Disciples Divinity House by ensuring long term financial strength, providing student scholarships, and enabling major renovations. They may be made as a pledge to be fulfilled over several years, be arranged as a planned gift, or come from a person’s or family’s accumulated assets such as stocks, real estate, or other property.

Named Endowment Fund

Named endowment funds provide a permanent source of income for the work of the Disciples Divinity House. Established with a gift of $10,000 or more, income from a named fund helps to ensure the highest quality of educational preparation for future generations and undergird excellence and intelligence in ministry. Establishing a named fund also serves as an example of stewardship and an encouragement for others to follow.

Creating a named fund may be a special way to honor or remember someone. For example, Raymond and Lois Williams established the Eugene May Fund to remember a minister who had been significant in their lives and who, like Raymond himself, was an alumnus. They commented, "Eugene May combined the scholarship, abilities, character, and commitments that commend him as a model for Scholars of the Disciples Divinity House. In every way, we found him to exemplify the best in Christian ministry."

An African tradition is that as long is one is remembered by name a person does not disappear into the shades of the past but remains influential in the community as part of the "living dead" or the "communion of saints." Named funds not only provide financial support for House Scholars, they also help surround those students with "a great cloud of witnesses." For example, the lives and witness of Clarence Lemmon, K. Barton Hunter, Lloyd and Vera Channels, Thelma Northcutt, and JoAnne and David Kagiwada, among others, have been lifted up by the creation of funds named for them.

Named Scholarship Fund

Named scholarship funds provide a permanent source of support for the work of the Disciples Divinity House Scholars. Established with a gift of $250,000 or more, income from a named scholarship fund undergirds the studies of one House Scholar for the year. Earnings from the fund support the Scholar’s tuition and provide the Scholar with a stipend for living costs. Establishing a named scholarship also provides an compelling example of stewardship and an encouragement for others to follow.

Eleven named scholarships are awarded each year. They recognize outstanding promise and high achievement while helping to ensure a level of scholarship support that enables students to immerse themselves in preparation for ministry and scholarship.

  • Edward Scribner Ames Scholarship for high achievement in preparation for pastoral or educational ministries.
  • William Barnett Blakemore Scholarship for excellence in scholarship and breadth of ecumenical vision.
  • William Daniel Cobb Alumni/ae Scholarship for high achievement in preparation for ministry.
  • Bernard F. and Annie Mae Cooke Scholarship for special promise in pastoral ministry.
  • M. Elizabeth Dey Scholarship for outstanding promise in pastoral or educational ministries.
  • Drum and Tenant Scholarship for outstanding promise in pastoral or educational ministries.
  • Henry Barton Robison Scholarship for high achievement in biblical studies.
  • Rolland and Laura Frances Sheafor Scholarship for high promise for ministry and scholarship.
  • M. Ray and Phyllis Ann Schultz Scholarship for special promise in congregational ministry.
  • Oreon E. Scott Entering Scholarship for an outstanding entering student.
  • William N. Weaver Entering Scholarship for an outstanding entering student.

For more information about creating a named fund or a named scholarship, and to explore various ways of making your gift, please contact Dean Kris Culp.